Caring volunteers have been a Lodge strength for many years. They escort residents to medical appointments, play games and music, serve coffee at functions, deliver mail, and visit with those in need of companionship. While it is obvious that our volunteers bring cheer to the Lodge and help us fulfill our mission, they tell us that they too benefit immensely from lending a hand.
A perfect case in point is our recently formed relationship with the Austin Centers for Exceptional Students (ACES) in Peoria. The ACES is a state-certified, private, year round, special education school for kindergarten through twelfth grade special needs students. This year the school instituted a Career Express program for their seniors who will soon be entering the job market.
During the course of this program, students prepare resumes, write cover letters, and role play interviews. They also volunteer with local businesses in order to get work experience and improve their social skills.
Seven students from the ACES, along with a rotating group of teachers, have been operating the Lodge’s snack cart and helping with various activities since the beginning of the school year. Two months into their experience at the Lodge, ACES teacher Kim MacBoyle considers the partnership a huge success. “Our teachers are reporting that the kids volunteering at the Lodge are really responding well to their work. One of our quieter kids has really opened up in the classroom because she knows she is helping others. We are also hearing from parents that the kids in the program are showing great improvement in their behavior at home and really enjoy talking about their experiences.”
Of course, our residents love spending time with kids and the opportunity to visit with new friends is even more important than the help being provided by our volunteers. If you would like to brighten the lives of our residents and lend a hand, please give us a call … (623) 933-0137.